Dog poisoned by sachet in

Iron oxide toxicity

OSHA comments from the January 19, 1989 Final Rule on Air Contaminants Project extracted from 54FR2332 et. seq. This rule was remanded by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the limits are not currently in force.

CAS: 1309-37-1; CHEMICAL FORMULA: Fe2O3

OSHA formerly had an 8-hour TWA limit of 10 mg/m3 for iron oxide fume. The ACGIH has established a limit of 5 mg/m3, measured as iron, total particulate. The proposed PEL was 5 mg/m3, and NIOSH (Ex. 8-47, Table N1) supported the proposed limit. However, the final rule retains OSHA's former limit of 10 mg/m3 for this substance. The fume of iron oxide is red-brown in color.

Animals exposed to iron oxide or to iron oxide mixed with less than 5 percent silica by inhalation or by intratracheal injection did not develop pulmonary fibrosis (Naeslund 1940/Ex. 1-650; Harding, Grout, Durkan et al. 1950, as cited in ACGIH 1986/Ex. 1-3, p. 325). Inhalation of iron oxide dust also did not produce lung cancer in mice (Muller and Erhardt 1956/Ex. 1-648).

The evidence of iron oxide's toxicity in humans is conflicting. Drinker, Warren, and Page (1935/Ex. 1-315) concluded that exposures to iron oxide fume should be maintained below 10 mg/m3, and a U.S. Department of Labor study (1941, as cited in ACGIH 1986/Ex. 1-3, p. 325) found that exposures below 30 mg/m3 were without adverse effect. There are several studies, on the other hand, that report chest X-ray abnormalities in miners, welders, silver polishers, electrolytic iron oxide workers, foundry workers, and boiler scalers (Doig and McLaughlin 1936/Ex. 1-626; Stewart and Faulds 1934/Ex. 1-764; Doig and McLaughlin 1948/Ex. 1-627; McLaughlin, Grout, Barrie, and Harding 1945/Ex. 1-642; Davidson 1951, as cited in McLaughlin 1951/Ex. 1-727; Pendergrass and Leopold 1945/Ex. 1-653; Dunner and Hermon 1944/Ex. 1-731) exposed to iron oxide dust or fume. Some of these workers developed disabling pneumoconiosis; however, the exposures of many of these workers were mixed and in some cases included exposure to varying amounts of silica.

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